Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rule Number One

Rules for Small Town Living

"Rule number one, do not flip anyone the bird- they might be a customer," a friend suggested over beers as we celebrated, at last, our home purchase and coincidentally our wedding anniversary. There was a fair amount of laughter and head shaking agreement over the interconnectivity of businesses and folks in these parts. During our week of vacation and business, we had encountered some of these connections. My husband relaying our efforts to change the title of our car from Florida to Ohio learned that the barber is married to the Clerk of Title for the County. While registering to vote, the office worker noted our last name and verified that we knew my husband's parents; she attends church with them. Noting the nice tomatoes at the music shop, I learned they were dropped off by a farmer who trades produce for lessons. When I talked beer with the brewer, I learned that the brewery sells Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream- the base is made by Snowville Creamery. The Seller's realtor went to high school with my husband's brother. My husband swam swim team in high school with the lawyer we consulted. Considering how much overlap there is in a small community, it is advisable for newcomers and old-timers to be honest and direct in business dealings and to follow rule number one even when someone cuts you off.

In Search of a Contractor

Part of our vacation time was used to find a contractor for some renovations on our new old house. The first contractor, a tall soft spoken man with an excellent reputation and several recommendations, seemed a perfect fit. We were tempted to not even meet with anyone else, but at the insistence of others we met with the second contractors, two brothers, also with excellent reputations and recommendations; we again felt a perfect fit. I couldn't find one person to say a bad word about either one all week, instead everyone was singing their praises. Remembering back to our house remodel in D.C. this was a welcomed quandary, but still how to make the decision? A game of rock, paper, scissors has been used more than once by the Japanese mamas to decide close calls. I am sure there will be more reflections on this experience over the coming months as we manage this project from afar. It kind of gets back to rule number one, it pays to have a good reputation.

A New Direction

It feels odd to buy a house and then leave the next day. There are things which need to come together before we can return to live in it, mainly the remodeling work, an early release for the kids and I to leave Japan, and eventually my husband's retirement. We'll see how things evolve. For now, the direction we are heading feels good.